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to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. then you're going to love this. right now they're only $14.95! wow-a grt deal just got a whole lot better. hurry. $14.95 won't last. that's it for "early start." i'm christine romans. >> and i'm zoraida sambolin. "starting point with soledad o'brien" starts right now. good morning, welcome, everybody. our starting point this morning, another shocking bombshell in the oscar pistorius murder trial. this morning we're learning that the lead investigator in the case is facing seven counts of attempted murder himself.
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that's as final arguments get under way as we're speaking. the defense is claiming that the olympian could not have committed premeditated murder. we'll take you live to south africa for reports. also nearly half the country is under a wintry blast. here's a live look this morning at wichita, kansas. feet of snow in the heartland, tornado warnings in the gulf, snow blanketing the desert. we'll tell you where that storm is going next. and then we've got breaking news this morning out of syria where 31 people are reported dead after a huge car bomb blast near the ruling party's headquarters. we'll bring you the latest on that story as well. new overnight, five people killed when a small plane runs off a runway. we're live on the seen in thompson, georgia, where investigators are trying to find out how it happened and who was on board. and president obama addresses that highly talked about golf match with tiger woods. who does he think was more nervous? >> it's thursday, february 21st. "starting point" begins right now.
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welcome, everybody's. happening right now, oscar pistorius possibly minutes away from a decision on his bail as he fights a charge of premeditated murder against him. final arguments are under way. it's day three of the hearing. the defense is angling for a lesser charge than premeditated murder. they say if pistorius wanted to kill his girlfriend, reeva steenkamp, he could have done it in the bedroom and not in the bathroom. we've also learned that the lead investigator in the case is facing reinstated attempted murder charges for allegedly opening fire on a mini bus that was carrying seven people back in 2009. allegedly he was under the influence of alcohol at the time. i want to get right to nic robertson who's live outside the court house in south africa to walk us through some of the latest turn of events in this case. good morning, nic. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. well, the defense are putting their case just after a lunch recess, a very short lunch recess here.
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the defense saying that the prosecution hasn't even put forward enough evidence so far to determine that there should even be a murder charge, never mind premeditated murder. they say there's no eyewitne eyewitnesses, that this is a forensic case. the magistrate earlier in the proceedings called on the chief police investigator, the one with these attempted murder charges hanging over his head, called him into the courtroom and asked him if he was happy speaking in english and he said yes, he was happy in english but no mention whatsoever of those pending charges on him. the prosecution reading from a magazine today, a magazine in which pistorius is quoted as saying that he lived several months of the year in italy, which is where he trains. the prosecution saying that this, transfeherefore, offers h somewhere to live in italy and heightens the possibility of his flight if given bail. so the proceedings still going on into the third day here. >> nic robertson this morning. thank you for the update. also we want to update folks,
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nike says they're going to suspend their contract with oscar pistorius. the deal was believed to be worth $2 million. an ad featuring pistorius with the words "i am the bullet in the chamber." that was already pulled. nike says we believe oscar pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. also hearing this morning from reeva steenkamp's family. they're stunned, they're grieving and all they want is the truth. her cousin talked about piers morgan last night about the moment she heard the news that reeva had been killed. >> the last thing i expected and to me to this day it's surreal. we turned around in this bumper-to-bumper traffic. we turned around and drove and i just remember thinking the whole time there's no way. somebody is playing a joke. the radio guy is going to come on and say that this is a big joke. >> i want to begin ted simon this morning. he's a criminal defense lawyer who has defended multiple clients not only here in the
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united states but also around the world. it's so nice to have you with us this morning. >> nice to see you. >> let's start with the question of bail. what are they considering now as we wait for them to come back with this information from the hearing? >> obviously that's the critical question of the day. and it's the perfect question to start because we must start looking at this case through the lens of a criminal defense lawyer in south africa and their system, because this is -- their system has some similarities to ours and many differences. we already know they don't have a jury system. but with regard to bail, the critical question is this. normally there's a presumption of innocence and the question of proof beyond a reasonable doubt which they have there. the burden always stays in the prosecution, just like here. but in bail cases, and particularly in murder cases, the burden shifts to the defendant. in a murder case, it's considered a schedule 5. a premeditated case is considered a schedule 6. >> so their goal is to move it from schedule 6 to schedule 5 as fast as possible. >> absolutely. in addition to showing the
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person is not a flight risk and not a danger to the community or any person and not going to interfere with the prosecution's case, they also want to show it's in the interests of justice, which is a lesser standard if it's a schedule 5. but if it's a schedule 6, premeditated murder, they must show exceptional circumstances. and that is why they offered an affidavit in the case that both showed he would not interfere with the prosecution, that he would not flee, he was not going to endanger anyone and also it was in the interest of justice and they sought to attack the premeditated nature of the case to drop it to a schedule 5. >> they also seem to be seeking to attack the investigator in the case. i tell you, there are shades of o.j. simpson in all of this. >> yes. >> and the investigator seems to be playing the role of mark fuhrman. they have highlighted a case of 2009 where he fired at seven people in a minivan. that case reinstated we found out last night. why this tactic and does that influence a case?
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as we heard from nic robertson, it's a forensics case. >> true. even though these are true charges, you have to believe the prosecution had to be aware of the investigator's background. they made the choice to have him be the lead investigator as opposed to anyone else. so it somehow affects the judgment in the case and may affect how they have charged the case. it certainly is not a good fact. how bad remains to be seen. the question in this case largely will be the forensics. but coming back to the affidavit, why did they do that? we can't look at that from the perspective of a u.s. lawyer. they did it to specifically avoid him having to testify, be subject to cross examination, which all of which would have been available for the trial -- >> so he doesn't have to answer any questions? >> this is critical because if they didn't offer anything then they may not be able to undermine the premeditated nature of the allegation. >> we'll obviously continue to talk about this case all morning and you're going to stick around with us, which we appreciate. our other top story this
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morning, 30 million people across the 18 states are now in the path of a powerful winter storm moving into the plains. the system is huge. it's literally an area about the size of mexico stretching from the dakotas all the way into texas. while it dumps snow in the north it's also going to pour heavy rain over parts of the south and maybe even tornados along the gulf coast. parts of kansas are looking at a foot and a half of snow. several flights have already been cancelled out of kansas city international airport. we're covering this extreme weather from lots of angles this morning. erin mcpike is in wichita, kansas. jennifer delgado is live at the cnn weather center in atlanta. erin, let's start with you. how's it looking? >> reporter: well, it's not quite as heavy as it was last hour but it's still pretty heavy. we've seen snow plows go by here about six times in the last two hours and the roads are still covered. also we've got this ruler, we've been measuring. about an hour ago it was 4 inches. now we're at 5 1/2. but soledad, here's the interesting thing about this storm. we're calling it a thundersnow. there's thunder and lightning
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that goes along with it. i wish it would happen when i'm out here but i think we've got video, so let's play that video. i don't know if you can hear it. and that's why we're calling it the blizzard of oz. we've seen that a lot on twitter from some people in kansas, so we want to name this storm the blizzard of oz, soledad. >> i thought thundersnow was dramatic enough. let's get right to jennifer d delgado on where the storm is going to head next. >> right now we are watching the storm system and, soledad, this is awe huge one. you can see where all the wauchgz and advisories are extending from michigan all the way down towards texas but this is our triple threat. if you add in the future flooding potential, we could call this a quadruple threat.
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we're talking about snow where we saw our reporter, ice as well as the severe storms that will be setting up. right now we're already looking at some of those moving through texas as well as oklahoma. you see that lightning there? that shows you how strong the convection is with the storm. that's why we saw that video of the thundersnow and we'll continue to see this potential as we go through the day. we are talking about 12 to 18 inches of snowfall through parts of kansas, nebraska and then a half inch to three-quarter inch of ice accumulation for missouri and parts of arkansas. that could lead to power lines down as well as trees. >> wow. that is a big massive area you've got there for us. thanks, jennifer, appreciate it. we'll keep monitoring that all morning. following a developing story as well out of georgia where a plane that was carrying seven people has gone down. christine has got that and also a look at the day's top stories for us. good morning. >> good morning. we're getting our first look at the scene of a small plane crash in georgia. five people died. two people injured when the jet overshot the runway at thompson
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mcduffy regional airport near augusta. cnn's victor blackwell is live in thompson, georgia. what do we know this morning? >> reporter: well, we know that the sheriff's office says his department didn't even know about the plane crash until they started to get calls about power outages. when they came to look at those lines, they found the plane, parts on fire stretched othver field and forest of about a mile. the first call from the faa said that it lran off the runway. the closest part of this plane is over a four-lane road, past an industrial building and 100 yards or more away. they're telling us that the ntsb will determine exactly what happened. we know that power to a lot of the businesses and a technical college nearby is still out. that investigation from the faa will continue this morning now that the sun is up. we know that there are federal authorities on scene investigating. we're still trying to confirm who was on that plane. when we find that out, we'll
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bring it to you. now back to you. >> thanks, victor. an update now on a story that's been breaking in syria. a car bomb targeting the headquarters of syria's ruling party exploding in central damascus. we're now hearing 31 people were killed at the scene here. ivan watson live in istanbul with the details. good morning, ivan. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. that's right. a series of deadly explosions in the heart of damascus, the first of them taking place within about 20 yards of one of the offices of the ruling baath party. if you look at the video airing on syrian state tv, it's just terrifying. dozens of cars it looks like hurled by the force of this massive blast. syrian state tv is reporting at least 35 people killed, more than 200 people wounded. there are several schools close to where this explosion went off. we've been messaging with a resident who was nearby there and he's saying that the schools are ordering parents to come and
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bring their kids home to safety. this is only the first of several explosions. not too far away in another neighborhood, at least one other car bomb being reported there by both syrian state media and opposition media sources near one of the offices of one of the security forces groups there. then we're also getting reports of possible clashes there between syrian government security forces and rebels. so this is a very tumultous day here. our first look capturing the moment a gas explosion and fire leveled a restaurant in kansas city. look at this. witnesses said it sounded like thunder, felt like an earthquake. one person was killed, more than a dozen others injured. authorities say a utility construction crew severed a gas line leading to the massive explosion and of course fire investigators say you could smell the gas in the air in the moments before the explosion.
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a newly released 911 call from a shooting and carjacking spree in orange county, california, that left four people dead including the gunman. this man early tuesday morning when police say 20-year-old ali sayed fatally shot a young woman in his parents' home. his mother then frantically dialed 911. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> yeah. i think somebody is shot. >> take a deep breath and tell me what's going on, okay. >> please come. >> explain to me what's going on, please. >> i can't talk. please come. >> terrifying. police say sayed committed three carjackings. he killed two drivers in the process. the rampage ended when sayed took his own life behind the wheel of a moving car. first on cnn, the army's about-face on paula broadwell. they're revoking the promotion of david petraeus' former mistress. she had been approved for a promotion from major to lieutenant colonel in the army reserves but since the scandal
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broke, she's been under investigation for having classified information at home without permission. she will not get that promotion. take a look at the new official white house portrait of first lady michelle obama. everyone is talking about her hair. she first debuted the new bangs halftime month just in time for her husband's inauguration and here's her official portrait from 2009. back then everyone was talking about those very nicely toned arms. >> now we like the bangs and the arms. >> i guess we like the whole package. president obama speaking out about that round of golf with tiger woods. the commander in chief and the four-time masters champion teed up sunday in florida. tiger thought it was, quote, pretty cool and praised the president's short game. mr. obama, a little bit more impressed. >> he plays a different game than i do. he's on another planet. >> is he more nervous because he's playing with you or are you more nervous because you're playing with tiger woods? >> i don't think he was nervous. he knew that i wasn't a big threat to his world ranking. and i knew that i better keep by
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day job. >> the white house is still fielding complaints from the media for barring reporters and photographers from the president's golf outing. there's some in washington still ticked off about that. teed off, if you will. ahead this morning on "starting point," a possible break through in the nuclear negotiations with iran. world leaders reportedly ready to offer a new plan to convince iran to shut down a nuclear enrichment site. then we look at business news as well. >> future video games, it's here. we'll look at the brand new playstation that was revealed. ps4 reclaiming the glory days of playstation. with the spark miles card from capital one,
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they're going to presenting it to the iranians in talks next tuesday. we're told that they're going to offer significant economic incentives in exchange for iran shutting down a uranium enrichment facility and surrendering its stockpile of enriched uranium. elise labott has new details on this proposal. >> reporter: good morning. well, sources are telling the partners are sweetening the pot from a deal they offered iran last year and are asking more of iran in return when they sit down next week in kazakhstan. so what's the deal? in exchange for easing the ban on the trade of gold and precious metals to iran and giving them some nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, iran has to close down this enrichment plant and ship out the uranium that is already enriched to a pretty high level. the big concern here is that this facility is underground and the longer iran keeps running the plant and enriches youraniu there and stores it, it becomes more difficult to stop them from having enough material for a
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nuclear weapon. iran has already rejected the plan, and my sources are saying expectations are pretty low for these talks. iran has its elections coming up in june. no one really thinks that the iranians will want to be seen as making concessions to the west before then. but iran's economy is really hurting because of these biting sanctions on their oil sector and central bank. take a look at this. in the last year alone, the iranian currency has fallen 80%. so the u.s. and its partners feel maybe the rulers are getting desperate and could seriously negotiate after the elections. in the short term it might be good to get the talks going again and see what iran really wants. >> elise, thanks. coming up, one of the most anticipated retail reports of the year from walmart just into cnn. we'll tell you the numbers and also what it means for the economy when we come back. dermatologist recommended [ ] aveeno has an oat formula, now proven to build a moisture reserve, so skin can replenish itself. that's healthy skin for life. only from aveeno.
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welcome back to "starting point." i'm christine romans. mining your business this morning, stock futures lower at the moment. the dow fell 108 points yesterday on fears the fed might scale back its bonds-buying program. that strategy engineered by ben bernanke is credited with helping stabilize the economy. wall street getting a big bunch of corporate earnings and economic data, the biggest of those coming from walmart. just into cnn the world's largest retailer beat estimates during the quarter, a quarter that includes the holiday shopping season. it raked in almost half a trillion dollars in sales in 2012. but walmart says sales this year have been slower, as consumers deal with delayed tax refunds, high unemployment and that payroll tax increase. so that could hurt profit or slow profit going forward. it really says a lot about the
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paycheck-to-paycheck crowd. that's why we really watch walmart earnings. boeing working around the clock to get its dreamliner back in the sky. tomorrow a company executive will play out a temporary plan aimed at returning its jets to service by april. the fleet has been grounded because of battery problems that ignited at least two fires. excitement over the new playstation 4. its hottest features, much improved social networking integration, streaming capabilities, plus a supercharged processor promising impressive high def graphics. ps4 is a major bid by sony to regain momentum in the gaming industry which pulled in $78 billion globally last year. we're expecting it to be available by the holiday season. no word yet officially on pricing. >> but available by the holiday season. >> of course. you got something like that, you want it ready by christmas. still ahead this morning, an american held in cuba since 2009. the country says he's not a spy, so why are they holding this man? coming up next, we'll talk to
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welcome, everybody. our starting point this morning, oscar pistorius is in court right now. he's fighting to get out of jail on bail. just minutes ago his defense lawyers were saying that the police evidence is very poor and amounts to a monumental collapse of the state's case. meantime the judge is asking for more clarity about the physical state of the victim at the time of her death and the blood on the cricket bat that was found in the home. the lead investigator in the case officer hilton botha is
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facing reinstated murder charges for allegedly opening fire on a mini bus carrying seven people. this was a case back in 2009 and it was alleged at the time that he was under the influence of alcohol. lots to get to in this case with our senior international correspondent, nic robertson, he's live outside the court house in south africa. let's walk through some of the details. where do you want to start? >> reporter: well, after lunch, which the session began perhaps an hour ago after that very short break for lunch, it's been the defense taking the floor trying to pick apart the case put forward by the prosecution saying oscar pistorius is such an international figure the risk of him fleeing the country is very low. this is a case that relies on forensic evidence and that because there are no eyewitnesses, his challenge, the testimony put forward by the prosecution that somebody heard a heated argument between oscar pistorius and reeva steenkamp, he said this house was how many
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yards away, 600 yards away? how would they have been able to hear that. we've also heard the magistrate this afternoon jumping in and challenging some of what the defense lawyer has been saying, questioning reeva steenkamp's situation after he died. we heard the defense say that her bladder was empty. that was consistent with the story she had gone to the bathroom. the judge said perhaps she went to a bathroom an hour before. perhaps when she was shot she emptied her bladder. perhaps because the screen door was open neighbors heard them arguing so you heard the magistrate challenging some of what the defense has been putting forward. >> and what the defense seems to be putting forward is not so strong, at least according to robin who has been inside the courtroom. nic robertson, thanks. appreciate the update. let's walk through some of the prosecution's points and the defense points. for example, the prosecution, they have been claiming that pistorius was on his prosthetic legs when shooting. they have talked about the
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angle, not just shooting through the bathroom door because i guess the toilet was at an angle but also the angle downward which implies attacking someone in a specific place and if he had time to put the legs on that, would change his version of the events. in addition, the prosecution claimed that testosterone and needles were found. they claimed that witnesses heard shouting. they claimed that blood was found on cell phones and a cricket bat that later ended up in the bathroom. the defense now saying this, testosterone was not testostero testosterone, it was an herbal supplement. police contaminated the scene. there was some testimony about the lack of wearing little footies to cover up the feet on the investigators' part. no indications of assault when they looked and examined the body of reeva steenkamp. and those witnesses who talked about hearing the fight, those were maybe a thousand to 2,000 feet away from pistorius' house. so as you hear some of these details, let's start with you,
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ted. >> absolutely. >> what seems like the prosecution's case is getting weaker by the minute. >> absolutely. i mean you presented arguments, but where is the substantial evidence to support it? let's take each of them. prosthetic legs on when shooting. his affidavit said he was on his stumps when he went to the location and shot. and if they're going to try to say the angle of the shooting is material, then they would have to produce forensic evidence that would substantiate that and they have not done that. >> they might be able to, right? ultimately at the ending of the day, this is a measurement of an angle. you'll be able to determine if he was up here or down here while shooting. >> but there's a lot of ambiguity. did you hold it up, did you hold it down? i don't know how clear that's going to be in the end. but the pointing rig right now don't have it. the second point, the testosterone. all they had to do was do a simple test and tell what's in it. the officer, investigator, admitted he read a long name and that name is likely not
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testosterone but an herbal substance so i think that doesn't hold much weight. >> how about the witnesses who heard the shouting? we now know the distance. is 1,000 to 2,000 feet too far in the middle of the night to hear people shouting at each other? they came between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. there was an argument. >> right. we heard that this yelling was three, four, football fields, five, six football fields away. can you really say if someone heard something they would be able to say that it came from that specific location? this is what happens in high-profile cases. a lot of noise occurs. people start saying things that are unsubstantiated. i don't think there's a lot of virginia in th value in that and i think it's going to disappear. and the so-called blood on a cricket bat. as soon as you hear that you think of domestic abuse but there's no evidence that theefz batt -- she was battered with a contradict it bat. >> the evidence seems to be there are no signs of assault on her body. >> so the bat was used to break
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down the door as was said and there was obviously a lot of blood because he carried her. so i think all of these points are arguments, but there's no substance to substantiate them. and when you look at the question of bail, even though there is a burden on the defendant in a premeditated case to show exceptional circumstances, i think he is substantially adversely affected. the quality of the prosecution's case. that's why he likely will be given bail. >> we're watching for that and we'll wait and see. chris has joined us at the table as well from the national journal. we'll continue to talk about this case which i have found absolutely riveting as we monitor all of the details coming to us out of south africa. first christine has a look at some of the other news this morning. the vice president on the road today drumming up support for the administration's gun control proposals. joe biden will take part in a conference at western connecticut state university. that's just ten miles from sandy hook elementary school in newtown. former illinois congressman
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jesse jackson jr. faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced on june 28th. he pleaded guilty yesterday to using $750,000 in campaign funds to buy personal items, like a $43,000 rolex watch. jackson's wife, sandi, a former chicago alderman, also pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns related to the misuse of campaign funds. she faces up to three years in prison. dramatic and graphic testimony from a woman accused of brutally murdering her boyfriend in 2008. in her eighth day on the stand, jodi arias testified about the day travis alexander died. she recalled getting a gun to protect herself but had no recollection of shooting and stabbing him dozens of times. >> so i ran into the closet and i slammed the door and i intended to run through the opposite end of the door because it has another exit. as soon as i got in there and began to run, i remembered where he kept the gun. so i grabbed it.
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i jumped up on the shelf, he kept it on the very top. >> do you remember stabbing travis alexander? >> i have no memory of stabbing him. >> arias faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. passengers aboard last week's nightmare cruise are now plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against carnival. an oklahoma couple filed this suit on behalf of the other passengers. they say unsanitary conditions threatened the health of everyone on board but a maritime lawyer doesn't think this is a slam dunk. >> well, i think that the -- talking about those passengers who have not suffered a personal injury or some specific physical illness, the likelihood of recovery is going to be much more difficult. >> the plaintiffs also claim carnival knew the cruise liner triumph could have engine problems because it had similar issues before. this is a shocking incident involving two young girls. take a look at this disturbing
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video from here in new york city. these kids are being egged on by adults to fight. you're hearing the adults there urging the children to slap and punch each other. the new york police department is trying to identify the adults involved. >> that might be a new low really. i mean can you imagine? those girls look like they're 7, maybe 8 years old? >> that story and the story in albany of the mom who hired strippers at the bowling alley for her son and the children were as young as 13. those two are like parents of the year. >> that's like cool mom gone wrong. >> sick moms. shouldn't be parenting, i think. interesting case to update you on. 1,177 days is how long 63-year-old american contractor alan gross has been sitting in a cuban jail. he's serving a 15-year sentence for bringing banned communications equipment into cuba as part of a state department program to spread democracy. one of the largest congressional delegations ever to visit the island was in havana this week. they're trying to free him.
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raul castro has stated gross is not considered to be a spy but they refuse to set him free. gross' family is worried he might have cancer. they want to bring him home to get examined and get treatment. congressman jim mcgovern was part of the delegation and they just returned yesterday. it's nice to have you with us, congressman. you got to spend a little time with mr. gross so how is he doing? how does he look to you physically and emotionally? >> actually two members of our delegation were allowed to see mr. gross. they say he was in pretty good shape, although he's obviously irritated that he's still in cuba in prison and not allowed to go home and see his wife and his family and his ailing mother. so we raised the issue with president castro, who seemed to tie it to the fate of the cuban five. those are the cuban that say we have in jail here in the united states. but look, what we need to do, i think we need to re-evaluate our entire policy and we ought to put together a formal structure where we begin negotiations with
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cubans on a whole range of issues, including alan gross, but also how we deal with the restrictions on travel, how we deal with the economic embargo and a whole range of things. this is a moment i think where we can not only move to release alan gross but we can move to change our entire policy. >> let me ask you a question because you said when you had conversations with raul castro, he sought to tie gross's fate to that of the cuban five. who are the cuban five and how realistic is that? are you saying now that he's really being held as a hostage to be swapped for versus someone who's serving time in prison? >> well, we have in jail in u.s. prisons across the country five cubans who are allegedly spying, relaying information back to the cuban government on the activities of cuban americans here in the united states. one of them has a sentence that carries a life term with it. and what president castro seemed to say is that, you know, you need to resolve that. these people in his opinion don't deserve to be in jail.
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we don't believe that alan gross ought to be in jail. but this is -- unfortunately, alan gross is kind of caught in this web that's a result of this outdated policy that we have toward cuba, a policy that has failed, a policy that is really a relic from the cold war. >> so getting him freed is not going to be as simple as a swap or as difficult as revisiting our cuba policy, which means that mr. gross would not be freed for a long time? >> well, my hope is that if we begin kind of a formal negotiation sooner rather than later, we can get mr. gross home a lot quicker. but, look, the problem we have with cuba is not just about alan gross, it's a whole range of things. and so we -- i think the time has come for us to re-evaluate our policy. we ought to have a more mature policy. we've got to be thinking about normalizing relations between our two countries, tearing down these barriers that create paranoia, that result in terrible cases like alan gross.
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he ought to be home and we pressed as hard as we could every cuban official to say that he should be released, but i think we need to encourage our government to engage in a more formal direct negotiation with the cubans on a whole range of issues. this shouldn't just be about alan gross. our problems with cuba are much more complicated. we need to put everything on the table. >> congressman jim mcgovern is a democrat from massachusetts. nice to talk to you, sir. thank you. >> thank you. >> when they talk about this case and they say it's not about alan gross, let's make it a bigger case, i would imagine that makes the case worse for alan gross, right? if you're trying to overturn the embargo, would they have better luck legally speaking saying, no, let's just make it about alan gross? >> i think you're absolutely correct. there's political issues and there are legal issues. we can't lose sight of the fact that cuba is an independent country with their own judiciary just like we are. so to try to create a specific swap, i really don't believe as much as i'd like to see this man home that will ever happen.
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the united states will never -- generally will never swap. however, they could engage in other possibilities. negotiate what's called a prisoner transfer treaty or have cuba become part of multi lateral treaties which permits some people in foreign countries to come back to their homeland and serve their time here and vice versa. >> but that gets it back into politics which makes it very, very messy and may be impossible certainly. >> make it part of an international treaty and then it wouldn't be as direct. >> the other piece you have here, soledad, is the fact the state department has said that alan gross did break cuban law. so our own government is saying he did break laws in that country and it makes it even more difficult for us to negotiate something. >> because it then becomes political. we have to get to a commercial break. still ahead, you all know about james bond obviously, but what do we know about all the villains. there's a new exhibit that highlightses all the deliciously even bad guys from bond. that's coming up. i have a cold, and i took nyquil,
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welcome back everybody. the oscar pistorius bail hearing that's been under way, robin is sitting in the courthouse and
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just sent out a tweet that the magistrate there says that there is a threat of some kind in that courtroom, unclear of the nature, and that they are now clearing the courtroom. the pistorius bail hearing is in its third day. we're waiting to see, of course, if he's going to actually be able to get bail. the threat apparently is outside, but the nature of the threat is very unclear. in any case, that courtroom which has been watched not only across south africa and of course internationally, that courtroom now the focus of everyone's attention. that's now been cleared while they try to fig out the nature of the threat and where they go forward. the delay, is it it help the defense, does it help the prosecution, is it a wash? >> of course we're not there so it's hard to assess what's going on. but my view of what we heard so far, delay will probably help the prosecution because it may give them additional time to present more evidence or make further arguments. if they could get some forensics into the courtroom that would
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demonstrate the allegations or the affidavit made by pistorius is wrong, that could be a substantial basis to affect bail. >> we don't know the details or the nature of the threat certainly, so we're waiting to get some details on that. now we're getting word that it's a threat that's outside of the courtroom as opposed to something inside of the courtroom. but are you surprised by that? or is just the fact that this is a high-profile case, you're going to see things like this, not just at the beginning of this case as it gets under way but to the bitter end? >> i think you get it to the bitter end. these kinds of things, they're always very, very careful about orchestrating the security around this and the idea that we have some kind of threat, i think this might be the first of kind of many different disruption, whether it's media or, you know, some kind of security threat. it seems to go along with the three-ring circuses that you get. >> just the bail part -- this is just the bail part of the hearing. i mean this isn't a trial yet. it just shows you the amount of scrutiny on this, the amount of i mess high profile. sometimes these things attract
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people who are crazy, quite frankly, who are calling in threats and the like. we don't know what happened here, but this is just the beginning of what could be a very long process. >> yeah, we don't know the details of what this purported threat is, how serious, how likely, how, you know, how substantial it is. but obviously the court wants to be very safe. it wants to be safe for the participants and the community. so they're going to be reasonable and hold things up. >> robin just sent us another tweet and she said this. everyone is a bit confused. they're back in the courtroom now from the holding cell. pistorius is out of the holding cell and is now back in the courtroom. the magistrate is now back in the courtroom as well. no one has said a word yet about this alleged threat that we were told was outside of the courthouse. so it is unclear and she hash tagged it confused, which means there's just not a lot of information forthcoming. >> on the flip side, he could simply grant bail, conclude the proceedings and everyone go home. >> is that likely, considering that the eyes of the world are watching this case? >> well, they have already -- i
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think they have -- well, i don't know for sure, but it seems that they have completed their argument. if they have completed their argument, the case is ripe for a decision. he also could take it under advisement or continue the case. but i mean the first thing he's going to have to deal with is this purported threat because no one wants to take any chances of anything really horrible happening. >> we're getting word that they're now back in the courtroom so it's unclear what that threat is. we'll obviously get robin to check in with us so we can get specific details of what's happening in that courtroom. in addition to the bail hearing that is now under way and in its third day. also ahead this morning, there are rumors of a james bond reunion at the oscars to celebrate 50 years. but what about the bad guys? no one ever focuses on the bad guys. it's always bond, bond, bond. barbara starr takes a look at the evil world straight ahead. >> i am ernst.
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welcome back. lance armstrong is done talking. is he refusing to cooperate with the u.s. anti-doping agency's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in cycling. usada was hoping he'd provide names of coaches or doctors who helped him in his tour de france winning teams. check your cereal box, kellogg's is recalling three sizes of its special k cereal with red berries because they may contain glass fragments, the 11 ounce, 22 ounce and 32 ounce packages sold at retailers across the country. there have been no reports of injuries but toss it and you can contact the company for a replacement coupon. sunday night's oscar ceremony is going to feature a star-studded celebration of bond, james bond. how did i do?
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>> good. >> thank you, chris, thank you. without the bad guys where would james bond be? it's the longest running franchise in history without the super villains and exquisitely evil schemes. now a museum exhibit is giving this rogue's gallery its due and cnn's barbara starr has details for us on that. good morning, barbara. >> good morning, soledad. as you say, sunday night the oscar ceremony in hollywood will pay tribute to 50 years of bond but here in washington, we're celebrating 50 years of evil. >> my name is bond, james bond. >> the name's bond, james bond. >> reporter: from sean connery to daniel craig, 007 has battled evil for half a century. as this year's oscars celebrate
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50 years of bond. >> do you expect me to talk? >> no, mr. bond, i expect you to die. >> reporter: here at the washington, d.c., spy museum it's bond's enemies that are in the spotlight. >> james bond. allow me to introduce myself. i am ernst stavro blowpmant. >> reporter: bond villains were a creative bunch. here you can find the steel teeth of jaws used in "moonraker." >> his name's jaws, he kills people. >> reporter: the the tarantula in "dr. no" and it's more than just movie props. the exhibit exquisitely evil, shows us how the villains changed along with the times. museum director peter ernest is a former cia covert officer. >> when fleming wrote the books
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and young productions produced the films they attempted to pick up on things producing anxiety in society, genocide or nuclear proliferation or terrorism or drugs. >> reporter: bond villains seemed to have one thing in common, causing mayhem. and that's what a lot of the bond villains were about, manipulating the world but controlling it. >> yes, trying to cause the superpowers to clash. >> reporter: in the latest blockbuster "sky fall" the villain's weapon the computer, used in a cyber attack against british intelligence. >> you'll recall in "sky fall" that the villain silva, he has the names of all the mi-6 agents around the world and the pseudonyms they're using and the people they're employing. >> everybody needs a hobby. >> so what's yours? >> resurrection. >> reporter: 50 years of bond surviving evil, exquisitely
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evil. so what we've seen is it started back in the '60s, dr. no, goldfing goldfinger, the cold war confrontation and we're up to silva sky fall and the cyber attacks of the modern world. think about the scope of this for one second. we looked it up and realized daniel craig was born six years after sean connery first starred in "dr. no." >> says it all. my favorite villain was jaws. he was awesome. thanks, barbara. >> who was your favorite bond? >> sean connery. he's the only one who did it for me. still ahead breaking news in the oscar pistorius bail hearing, very closely right now the court is back in session, quickly adjourned when there was reported to be some kind of a threat outside the courthouse, the nature of that threat not clear at this point. we'll get you all the details from south africa right at the top of the hour. and then this woman is definitely not going to win mom of the year. mom busted for having strippers,
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hiring strippers at her son's 16th birthday party. now she faces jail time. we'll update you on that story straight ahead. ha ha ha! no no no! not today! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! jimmy how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? happier than dikembe mutumbo blocking a shot. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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welcome everybody. our "starting point," breaking news in the oscar pistorius case, a threat clears the courtroom briefly, they're back in session and back in that courtroom. we're digging into what the nature of that threat was. we've learned the lead investigator himself is facing seven charges of attempted murder. we're going to bring you live outside that courthouse coming up. a powerful winter storm a live look at wichita, kansas, 18 states getting blasted from the plains to the gulf coast. another developing story, 35 people killed in a car blast outside the ruling party's headquarters in syria, and then a horrifying moment caught on camera, new surveillance video shows the moment a deadly blast reduced a kansas city restaurant to rubble. at this hour, oscar winning actress octavia spencer and talk about the oscars come up, it's thursday, february 20th and "starting point" begins right now.
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welcome, everybody, breaking news in the oscar pistorius hearing that's under way right now, it's the third day. we learned there was some threat that cleared the courthouse and adjourned that hearing for a little bit of tile. right now we're told everyone is back inside. it is unclear at this hour exactly what was behind the threat, why the courtroom was cleared. rob yin curnow is in the court, says everybody is confused, the judge saying he could interfere with witnesses and therefore be ineligible for bail. he's listed pistorius threatening to break someone's legs, allegations of discharging a gun at a restaurant, these are the sort of prior bad acts, we're waiting of course on a decision on bail, that is the focus of this.
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more from nic robertson. >> reporter: there was a brief interruption to the afternoon's hearing as the magistrate cleared the courtroom, sent pistorius back down to the cells, there was some kind of security threat. the biggest headline the fact that the cricket bat which has been very much in question, how did it get blood on it, there's been an indication perhaps it was used to break down the bathroom door, according to what we've heard now no indication that cricket bat was used in any way by oscar pistorius to injure reeva steenkamp whatsoever. the injuries on her body consisted only with bullet wounds. the cricket bat not used in any way to injure steenkamp, the defense laying out why they believe the police inspector's case has been based on weakley presented information. they don't believe there is a strong case here for a murder charge. they're saying the evidence that is required to be examined is
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forensic, that there are no eyewitnesses. we've heard the judge as well interrupting to ask questions, why didn't reeva steenkamp call out when she was in the bathroom, could she have gone to the bathroom, emptied her bladder, there's evidence she had gone to the bathroom to use the toilet. why the magistrate was saying perhaps she had entered her bladder earlier, perhaps when she was shot her bladder had emptied as well. we've seen the magistrate call into question some of what the defense is putting forward but again the prosecution its thrust here that oscar pistorius is at risk of flight, reading out from a magazine article where pistorius is quoted as saying that he lived or spent several months a year at least in italy where he was training for his athletics, for his running and that the prosecution is saying an indication he had somewhere else to go and live, all this playing out again in this third day of this bail hearing, going
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unexpectedly long, even by south african standards. nic robertson, cnn, pretoria, south africa. >> thank you for that update. we're being told by robyn curnow inside the courtroom and has been tweeting us about some of the details in this hearing and when the courtroom was cleared and when everybody came back she said the judge asked, so will there be shock if pistorius is released and the defense answering there will be shock if he is not released. >> an appropriate response. we just heard what you've characterized as alleged prior bad acts but all of those allegations could be quickly swept away if the defense would offer additional conditions, which are such things as house arrest, electronic monitoring, even put a guard outside the door. this might be perceived as punishment but it certainly would cure any possible thought that we would either flee, endanger anyone, endanger the safety of anyone, or interfere with the judicial process. >> do things always go better if
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your client is not in prison and he's out? >> there's no question. every single case, bar none, if a defendant is on bail rather than in custody, the results will be better. there's no question. >> why is that? >> there's many, many, there are endless reasons. one the greater access to the client, better relationship with the client. the client could be more involved in the defense. you could perform forensic, psychological and other kinds of tests without the government and the prosecution knowing what you're doing. you know it sends a message to the community as well that he's not so dangerous. he's not -- he is an honorable person at least with respect to the court, he's abided by the orders and done what the court wants him to do. >> south african prisons have a notorious reputation if he were to be put in a south african prison -- >> i'd have to say there's no chance of this fellow fleeing. first of all if you put those conditions we just discussed, his face is widely known, his disability is widely known. he could easily be recognized. his physical disability would easily be recognized and in
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fact, his very walk is probably different than most people so i don't think there's any chance he would be -- >> they're debating it. some people think there is a chance. >> a woman was gunned down, whether it was murder or whether it was some sort of manslaughter or something, she was gunned down. it was a very violent and painful way to die. >> you've set it up as murder or voluntary manslaughter. >> or self-defense, perceived self-defense. >> tragic, horrific mistake. he perceived the situation obviously wrongly and acted with utter fear. that is what the defense is saying. now the prosecution hasn't really rebutted that. they haven't provided any forensics to challenge the defense position so we can't simply say as horrific and tragic as this is, is anything other than a very, very tragic accident and horrific mistake. >> robyn curnow says the magistrate seems to be deeply considering the law and seems to be unconvinced by some of what the defense is saying, this is some of the information she's giving, she's inside the courthouse so all of the information we're getting from
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her is what she's able to send out to us in some of the tweets. >> sorry, chris, if he isn't unconvinced the defense can appeal to the high court and -- >> and have them look over the conditions. >> to christine's point i want to touch on that. you have a woman who is dead and you're a defense attorney so you're kind of taking that defense view but if you're the prosecution, do you really want to chance letting such a high profile guy out who could, who has his history of violence and his history of being unpredictable, doesn't that play into the judge's decision, though? >> i would beg to differ. i wouldn't just characterize myself as defense lawyer. i'm looking at this objective, a and when you think about restraining someone's liberty, it's a liberty interest, very important and with the high profile cases we forget some of the most important principles that exist in south africa, the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt and what's the likelihood in this case that the prosecution is going to be able to carry that burden? so for every day he's in jail maybe one more day than he
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should be. >> does it matter what the family thinks? if reeva steenkamp's family say we are stunned but she loved him and he loved her. is it different because you have a judge and not a jury making this decision? >> all of those things are factors but so far they haven't taken a public position. the parts i have observed is they've taken a fairly neutral position, that they haven't been engaged in the legal process and they're suffering this horrific tragedy. >> we're hearing from ree isva steenkamp's family that they only want the truth, they don't understand, what her half brother adam said on anderson cooper last night. they never discussed reeva's relationship with pistorius. here's what he said. >> i had no bad indications whatsoever. i did not actually talk to my sister in any detail about oscar at all. i mean, in fact i didn't talk to my sister about oscar at all.
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i wouldn't like to put words into my other family members' mouths, but everyone is saying the same thing. >> i didn't talk to my sister about oscar at all, was he all that close with his sister, if they didn't even come up -- >> consistently they have taken that position they were only dating for four months. the other big story we're following right now is that powerful winter storm. let's hold off on updating that and keep talking about this case if you don't mind, for a moment. so let's say that the family decides not to weigh, they take this position of saying we want the facts, we're not sure how to weigh in on it. if, in fact, they decide no bail and we've just heard from robyn that the judge appears, in her assessment, to not be so moved by what the defense is saying even though sort of in the way we interpret it, reading it, it sounds like they're absolutely devastating the prosecution's case.
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>> he may be being even-handed, asking hard questions of the prosecution, and he's asking hard questions of the defense, so it's hard to read those tea leaves. >> ultimately, they have said and robyn reported this earlier this is going to be a forensics case, it really won't matter anything other than that. do you think that's true no, eyewitnesses so it becomes a forensics case. >> right it's going to be a significant part of the case particularly if the prosecution is able to demonstrate any parts of the affidavit offered for purposes of bail is incorrect or inaccurate. >> is that an easier case for the defense if it's just forensics? you don't have eyewitnesses, you don't haveme some of the other things that might move a jury? >> there's no jury there. it's a question of moving the court and the forensics, look, they've hired some of the best experts already forensically. if the prosecution comes up with certain experts it very well may be they will be disputed. yes, forensics will play a part but so far we've heard that the, under cross-examination, the
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lead investigator has not been able to rebut or say anything that's inconsistent with the defense' affidavit. that alone should be enough to say it's in the interest of justice and there are exceptional circumstances that permit him to be released. >> we're watching, it's day three and it's been very bizarre as they cleared the courthouse, we still haven't gotten all the details about what that threat was that cleared that courtroom briefly. we're looking into that as well. let's turn to weather, our other big story this morning. 18 states, 30 million people face a powerful winter storm that's moving into the plains. the system is huge. it's literally about the size of mexico, stretches from the dakotas all the way to texas and while it dumps snow in the north it's expected to pour heavy rain over the south, maybe even bring tornadoes along the gulf coast and parts of kansas looking at about a foot and a half of snow. flights canceled out of kansas city international airport. lots to talk about. erin mcpike is in wichita, kansas and jennifer delgado is at the cnn center in atlanta.
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erin, you look much colder and a little bit more miserable than jennifer does, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. i am cold. i want to tell you it's not too cold because it's 28 degrees but it is still pretty cold but the snow is not coming down nearly as hard as it was a couple of hours ago. we've been out here for three hours and when we started there was nothing but now if you look at this, we're down to about, oh six inches of snow, so lots of snow, but here's the thing about this. it looks like it's nice, like we could see a lot of snowmen here in kansas, not really. if i pick it up, i can't make a snowball at all, so chris frates is safe on your panel there in new york, we're not going to hit him with a snowball. we've seen eight snowplows since we've been out here the past three hours and you still can't see the roads. it will be tough on the roads all day long, kansas governor sam brownback closed down most of the state, doesn't want to
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see people out on the roads so play in the snow, stay off the roads today. >> thank you for the update. jennifer you're up next. give me a sense of where the storm is, where it's heading and how bad it's going to be. >> we're tackling this storm right now focusing on three elements here, the freezing rain, we're talking about the ice as well as the snow and severe weather potential and we have it all on the radar. you can see where the line of storms are. they're going to be moving through dallas, a lot of lightning associated with this storm system and with this, this is a sign of how strong the storm system is, the convection and that's why we're getting reports of thunder snow, the snow is coming down through parts of kansas as well as into missouri and we're going to see more of this developing throughout the day as well as more of that freezing rain, that means ice accumulations, and with the severe storms they're going to be from east texas over towards areas including mississippi and they're going to get stronger even as we go later into the day. the snowfall totals impressive, 12 to 18 inches north of interstate 70 you're going to be hit hard as well as parts of
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nebraska and there's the ice accumulation, one-half to three-quarter inch of accumulation possible. that's right, stay off the roads, play in the snow. >> that's terrible, three-quarter inches of ice. >> a lot to take power lines down. >> you're right. thank you for the update. christine has a look at other stories making news. this morning federal investigators on the scene of a deadly plane crash near augusta, georgia. five of the seven people on board were killed when the small jet overshot the runway at an airport in thompson, georgia. this plane was arriving from nashville, the two survivors are believed to be the pilot and one passenger. no word yet on who the victims are. new picture this is morning of that horrific gas explosion in kansas city, missouri. surveillance video capturing the blast at a popular restaurant there. one person was killed, more than a dozen others injured. authorities say a utility construction crew severed a gas line, leading to the massive explosion. the mom accused of hiring
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strippers to perform at her son's 16th birthday party at a bowling alley has been charged with five counts of endangering a child. racy photos from the party began popping up on facebooking. >> racy doesn't even come close. >> young teenagers. some of the kids in the party were 13 years old. >> this is bad parenting. >> i don't know a 16-year-old boy who wouldn't love that for his birthday but this is like cool mom gone too far. you were trying to be way too cool and overstepped. >> five counts so what does that mean she faces legally? is it a year in prison per count possibly? >> this is under new york law? >> yes. >> yes, and probably that sounds right, i'm not that familiar with new york state procedure but this is an example of what we call over criminalization. just because someone exercises poor judgment doesn't mean they should be prosecuted. >> terrible judgment. >> let's call it terrible
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judgment. do you think we need to employ the criminal justice system and the power of the state against an individual because they made some bad judgments? >> she's charged with child endangerment and a lot of child endangerment is about bad judgment and bad parenting and the d.a. says this was a crime. >> this seems no different than serve kids underaged alcohol, you don't serve them booze or strippers. >> we have to take a break because this could go on for ever. dozens are killed in syria from the impact of a car bomb. new video gives you a glimpse of google's reality altering eyewear, ahead. ou can part a cr, without saying a word... if you have yet to master the quiet sneeze... you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts...
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(train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. welcome back, everybody. breaking news out of damascus, syria, a car bomb targeting the headquarters of syria's ruling party exploded in central damascus. we're hearing that 35 people have been killed at the scene, 237 others injured, most of them are reported to be civilians. the vehicle detonated at a checkpoint manned by government soldiers in front of a bate socialist party's main office and also the russian embassy, that's according to a human rights group. we want to get to ivan watson in istanbul and has the latest on this. tell me a little bit about what happened. >> reporter: that's right, soledad, massive explosion if
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you look at the images it's absolutely terrifying, cars, dozens of them hurled across streets by the force of this blast. we're hearing of basically hundreds of people wounded and killed as a result of this, and it's only one of several explosions, residents telling us moments after this blast, there appears to have been another car bomb in another part of damascus very close to one of the headquarters of one of the security agencies there and reports of fighting taking place there as well in the immediate aftermath. take a listen to what one survivor had to say to syrian state tv, this is a woman from iraq, one of the refugees in syria from the neighboring iraq conflict and she is cursing the rebel free syrian army for the blast. take a listen. >> translator: to the free syrian army, i am from iraq. the car blew up when i was in the area. why? why? may god curse you. is this the freedom that they
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want? may god curse you, the fsa. >> soledad, it's important to point out that in addition to the violence today, damascus has seen a lot of fighting in recent weeks and months, pitched street battles between rebels and government security forces in neighborhooded on the edges of the capital city and we've seen syrian government war planes bombing entire neighborhoods as well. this battle for damascus is still being fought and claiming lives and it's far from over. >> ivan watson with the breaking news, thank you. let's update with you some more breaking news out of the pistorius case which we've been monitoring for you, it is 3:19 in the afternoon there and they are giving their closing arguments. the state is wrapping up their closing arguments and we're getting word in fact there will not be a resolution to this bail hearing today, they're postponing it now probably for another day. we heard a little while ago from nic robertson people are stunned how long this has been taking.
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this pushes it into at least tomorrow as well as we continue to monitor and see if in fact oscar pistorius will get some kind of bail, will he get a schedule six is what he's facing right now, will they be able to drop it to schedule five, premeditated murder to straight murder, that would have a huge impact on what kind of penalties he would face. >> it wouldn't change the offense that he's facing in the future. the question of removing it from his schedule six to a five is only for bail purposes. so the court could say you know what? i don't think we need the additional elements of exceptional circumstances before we release you on bail. we just have to show it's in the interest of justice. so that's what the defense is trying to say that for bail purposes it's a schedule five offense regular murder as opposed to a schedule six which is premeditated murder, where you need a greater burden on the defense to show. >> and as we've been talking about all morning in south africa, there is not the jury
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listening to, this it's a judge and two magistrates working with the judge and the judge apparently asked oscar pistorius if he is okay, and if he is following along and fully understanding what is happening in the hearing which i would imagine would be routine in terms of checking in with the defendant. >> it's customary but in this case where he was heaving and crying on the first days of the hearing, it's appropriate for a court to inquire whether he is understanding the proceedings and that's what i believe the court was doing. it would similarly be done in this, in the united states as well. i think it shows humanity on the part of the court. >> doesn't really tip his hand in which way he'll rule on the bail hearing, left up to him and the magistrates and there's not a jury we're waiting to hear from. still ahide, shia lalouff dropped out of his broadway show. we're following that straight ahead. plus she's no stranger to an oscar, octavia spencer will join
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us, we'll have some oscar predictions straight ahead. dad: you'll be fine, ok? girl: ok. dad: you look so pretty. ♪ i'm overprotective. that's why i got a subaru. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. with the bing it on challenge to show google users what they've been missing on bing. let's bing it on. [fight bell: ding, ding] how many here are google users? what if i was to tell you that you would actually like bing way more than google when it came to the results? prove it. let's look up some taco places. i like the left side. yeah? okay, do we need to find out what the waves are like down at the beach? what side do you like better? i like the results on the right. i'm gonna go with the one on the left. oh! bing won! people prefer bing over google for the web's top searches. don't believe it? go to and see what you're missing.
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well come back to "starting point." minding your business this morning, big earnings from walmart this morning, the world's largest retailer beat
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estimates during the fourth quarter but that's not the news in this report. walmart says sales this year have been slower as consumers deal with delayed tax refunds, high unemployment and the payroll tax increase. stock futures are down at the moment. the head of a u.s. tire company is blasting the work ethic in france. "the wall street journal" reports maurice taylor of titan international sent a scathing letter earlier this month to a french industry minister. he was responding to a request from france that titan consider buying a shuttered tire in france. "he french workforce gets paid high wages, but works only three hours. they get one hour for breaks and lunch and talk for three and work for three." we'll talk to him for his tough negotiating style and in this particular situation, very, very honest about his feelings about buying a french tire company. >> tough commentary about the
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companies he's looking at. christine thank you. here's a look at what's trending on cnn. if you were planning to seeshy shia labeouf in his broadway debut, you can cancel that. he quit. he didn't elaborate on the reasons but been posting e-mails on his twitter account between him and the director and co-star alec baldwin that gives an indication of a lot of drama behind the scenes, so one can just guess that that's probably why he's leaving. marguerite joseph of gross point shores in michigan doesn't want to lie about her age but facebook is forcing her to not tell the truth about her age. marguerite is 104 years old. >> love it. >> yes, darn it, she wants a facebook page. the settings on facebook don't allow her to enter her year of birth which is 1908 so she has to say she's 99.
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her granddaughter helped her set up her facebook profile a couple years ago and they've been reaching out to the founder of facebook, mark zuckerberg to get the problem corrected, so far no comment from facebook. 99, 104, come on. >> i love it that she's on facebook. i love it. and that her granddaughter does it for her. details in the oscar pistorius bail hearing we learned that a decision on bail is not going to happen today as we were hoping to get that. we're going to have the latest from south africa coming up next. and the u.s. is going to spend nearly $3 trillion, digest that for a moment, $3 trillion on health care this year, in spite of the president's health care law so why do the medical bills keep rising? steve brill will join us with "time" magazine's cover story that looks at why medical care costs so much. that's when we're back. cereal ou know a that's recommended by doctors? it's post shredded wheat. recommended by nine out of ten doctors
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breaking news, the state
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says their argument is supported that the killing was deliberate and asking why would she take a cell phone into the bathroom at 3:00 in the morning. the magistrate is questioning how people would react if pistorius, also known as the blade runner, how people would react if in fact he were to be released. the defense said people would be shocked if he were not released. the magistrate also brought up some evidence of previous i guess you could call it previous bad acts that have been alleged to happen and pulled off by pistorius, threats of breaking legs, allegations of discharging a gun at a restaurant and about 40 minutes ago there was some kind of a threat undetermined the nature of it specifically but some kind of a threat that took place outside of the courthouse and that cleared the folks inside of the courthouse for a very brief time. pistorius was taken back down to the holding cell and brought back up and the magistrate back in, and they've got about 30 more minutes to wrap up this bail hearing that will not result in actually knowing whether or not he's going toe
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get bail been nic robertson has been updating the story for us all morning. it won't end in knowing what his bail, if he'll get bail or not but what is the sense of how it feels going into this courtroom today? >> i think it feels for everyone up and down, going in this morning people thought perhaps he would get bail and would be walking out. i think that was the general feeling but as we've heard through the day, the prosecution earlier in the day laying out that they fear that if he's released he could flee the country, reading a magazine article where he talks about his home or where he lives in italy several months of the year where he's doing his running training, and the prosecution raising that, then it swings back again where the defense unpicks the prosecution case and the evidence put forward by the police saying there isn't sufficient evidence here, there are no eyewitnesses, this doesn't even stand up to a murder charge and now just really in the last few minutes hearing what the magistrate has been doing, raising these
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concerns about oscar pistorius' past alleged acts of violence threatening someone with physical harm, a pistol going off in a restaurant. the expectation i think generally is that he probably will get released. listening to the magistrate, the magistrate is the one that's been trying to, if you will, raise the concerns, pick holes in what the defense is saying. asking very, very telling question if steenkamp was in the bathroom, why didn't she call out? that seems to have been one of the issues he was pushing very strongly, why didn't she call out when she heard pistorius saying, shouting or warning about a burglar. so the magistrate here being very, very cautious, soledad. >> thank you, nic, appreciate it. we should also mention that robyn curnow has been inside the courtroom and says the magistrate is also asking could in fact the accused, oscar
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pistorius, orchestrate the crime scene, if you will, after the shooting, was that something that was possible to do, this is as this bail hearing continues. now the third day we know now that it will not be resolved, we will not know today if in fact oscar pistorius will get bail or not. lots more happening as well, that is not this particular case out of south africa and christine has that. newly released 911 calls from a shooting and carjacking spree in orange county, kale ic california that left four people dead including the gun nan. 20-year-old aliyse shayed fatally shot and killed . >> police say sayed committed
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three carjackings, killing two drivers in the process. the rampage ended when he took his own life. he spent much of his time playing violent video games. drew peterson expected to find out how long he'll be behind bars he was found guilty last year of killing his third wife. his defense team is making a last ditch request for a new trial. peterson faces up to 60 years in prison. an oscar nominated palestinian filmmaker arriving in los angeles was detained by immigration officials who questioned his oscar invite. he was held for about an hour before they released emad burnat, his film "five broken cameras" is up for an oscar, he said it was an unpleasant experience but it's the kind of things they face every day in the west bank. the new google glasses interactive eye wear, shows you
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the maps, the weather, sends you text messages and translates. google is looking for quite bold, creative individuals to test them out but it will cost you $1,500. >> you get to test drive them but pay them to test drive them? >> i guess that's building anticipation. ever wonder why women talk more than men? two words. language proteins. university of maryland researchers -- >> more to say. >> -- higher levels of the fox foxp2 protein in females brain, those with more are chattier n humans that happens to be women. but they found in rats, it's men, it's the male rats. it's been previously claimed that women speak about 20,000 words daily. 13,000 more than men and i can't prove it but i think we talk faster, too. >> talk faster and have more relevant things to say. i feel very comfortable with this research. >> guys only speak 7,000 words a day? >> 7,000 less i think.
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>> okay. let's talk about health care because it's expensive and despite the president's sweeping health care legislation medical costs continue to rise every year in the united states. "time" magazine has a brand new cover story it's called "bitter pill: why medical bills are ilg can killing us" and it looks why medical bills are piling up so high for so many americans, according to the report published in partnership with cnn, the u.s. will spend roughly $2.8 trillion, yes, with a "t" on health care, that's 27% more per capita than othereveloped nations which comments to $750 billion. steven brill is a "time" magazine contributor, author of the new cover story and joins us this morning. this story is such an intense shocker because it really drills down into the actual costs in your bill, and a lot of people i think all the debates we've had about medical care focus on who is going to pay. is the person going to pay, the
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insurance company going to pay, is the government going to pay? you look at why are we paying so much. why are bills so expensive? >> that's right, i stumbled into this, looking for another writing project and about six months ago, somebody told me about a medical bill for having gone to the emergency room. he had slipped and fallen and cut his face and the bill was $21,000. so i just wondered, why does it cost so much in this country. so i just decided to follow the money, and what i found is, we basically live in two economies in this country. there's all of us, we have one economy, we read about unemployment and how things are tough, how earnings are tough, and then there's the health care economy, which is prospering, it's thriving, adding jobs all the time, everybody's making money, ge is making money on c.t. scans, your favorite local hospital you think is non-profit
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hospital is making tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. >> i want to ask you about that charge master, early on in the article you hone in on this thing called the charge master. it's a schedule of fees. >> it's this 7,000, 10,000 item schedule of fees so everything that happens to you at the hospital whether it's outpatient or inpatient or even in a lab has a charge. if someone hands you a tissue, that might be $1 or $2. if you get a routine, the blood test that is totally routine, which costs the hospital basically nothing, that could be $150 at one hospital, it could be $250 at another hospital. nobody can explain why. >> you focus on a guy named steven d., he has this bill that you walk through and say he has these diabetes test strips and he, the hospital charges him for 88 strips, he ends up being charged $1,584. if you were to buy them on
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amazon, could you get 100, like 12 more for 55 bucks. >> is that the labor in it? are they billing in the labor of the nurse? the raw cost of the strips? >> they say you're in the hospital getting all this care but in his case they charged a couple thousand dollars a day just for the hospital room, so you would think they would throw in the tylenol and the test strips with the couple thousand dollars. >> another example, nyacin pill can be bought at the drugstore for five cents. he is paying 24 bucks a pill. i guess i was stunned by that. >> that adds up. >> yeah, really, really fast. the gap, i mean we get it that they're going to pay, they reimburse hospitals for medicare one amount and it's often lower, hospitals and doctors will tell you less than it's actually costing them. but is it as much as that gap that we see? >> no, no. an insurance company will also get a discount off the chargemaster but your insurance company will get a 40% discount,
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maybe a 50% discount, but a 50% discount off of a $25 bill for nyacin is still a lot of money for the hospital. so what i found was hospital executives in every town in the country there's a hospital and you think of the hospital as your favorite non-profit charity. there's a fund-raiser every year and everybody feels good about going to the fund-raiser. the hospital ceos are making $2 million, $3 million, $5 million a year. the hospitals are making exorbitant profits and the fund-raiser you go to probably accounts for one half of 1% of their revenue. the real revenue is from the nyacin pills and the cancer drugs where they might charge the patient $10,000 or $11,000. it might cost them $4,000, and it might cost the drug company $100 or $200. >> stunning. i think this report is actually breathtaking when you go through sort of the basic math. you walk through the most basic math. >> we don't have a free market.
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we act as if we have a free market unlike every other developed country in the world but there's just nothing free about it because you and i have no choice in any of those buying decisions. >> the hospitals would argue that they have to do these things otherwise they'll get sued. they have to give you the more expensive test because if they don't and you die. >> no one is making them charge $25 for a nyacin pill. they have a good point about malpractice but not when it comes to charging $25 for a pill. >> what is the alternative for the patient? you're a captive audience at that moment. >> and probably terrified. >> sick. >> and sick. >> and even think being it, they hand you a pill or they say gee, you need a ct scan. >> steve, you hear a lot of politicians in washington saying, well, the health care law is going to take care of that, it's going to control costs and we're going to finally see that. >> obama care does nothing to control costs. what obama care does is shifts sort of the burden of who pays for insurance. if anything, it's going to cost more because you're putting more
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of these people into the market because they're going to have insurance, but it's going to raise insurance rates and then the government is going to subsidize insurance for people who can't afford it, but obama care does nothing to take a $13,000 cancer wonder drug which in europe would sell for $2,000, it does nothing about that. >> steven brill is a "time" contributor. this is an absolutely stunning article, a must read for anybody who has ever visited even the emergency room for tripping and falling and bumping their head. thank you for talking with us about it. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. still ahead on "starting point" the war on childhood obesity, is it easing up? there's a new federal report out about that, and she took home an oscar for her work in "the help." who does octavia spencer think will be the big winner at the academy awards sunday? [ anouncer ] ihop is in time square to compare
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encouraging it sntd' enough. plateau something not enough to cheer about. the question i ask our panel is why? is it that michelle obama is raising the issue, is it companies saying that they're going to try to fight obesity because they need to have a healthy population that they're marketing to? >> it feels like a combination of those things. you do have a lot of the big sew do makers, a lot of the fast food guys talking about responsibility and consumption and we have 100 calorie soda, you have childhood diabetes has become a big epidemic and there's a lot more attention around that, and that overweight children have so much more of a chance of becoming diabetic very early on and the health care costs as we were talking about that goes along with that. it seems like a combination of things but at least it's not going up anymore. >> and the happy meal today is a different happy meal from two years ago. if you're a parent who gets this, as a treat every now and then for your kids. the fries are smaller, they
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automatically include the apples now and public schools are doing a little bit better job with teachers and parents i would say with the schools really pushing the more healthy snacks and well-rounded meal before you get to school. there's a bet ear wareness but we have a lot more to do. you've got to pull the numbers down, still. >> the numbers plateaued but they were never good numbers to begin with. still ahead we'll talk to octavia spencer, she earned an oscar for her fabulous performance in "the help" last year. who will be the lucky winner this time around? she'll help us handicap the race, this sunday's academy award nominees coming up next. 1
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. three more days until the
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oscars, octavia spencer won best supporting actress for minnie in "the help." >> i need to see you well at all times. i got to come up with the questions, too? >> oh, let's begin. with where you were born. >> mississippi, on my great aunt tea's sofa, next. >> this year she returns as a presenter. nice to have you. >> thank you, nice to be here. >> there must be much more pressure as someone who say nominee than someone who is presenting but i have to imagine even presenting has got to be stressful. >> there is no stress attached to presenting, because you get to show up and see all the people that you love. >> but you got the red carpet, you have to have the whole -- they're going to do the whole look at what you're wearing, was
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it a good fashion pick. >> that's why you pick really, really smart. you pick the right people and they help you get -- i tell you, it's a different season. i'm having a ball this season. >> it's fun because you're not a nominee. >> it's fun, yes. >> you look at the categories, amy adams is up for "the masters" sally field for "lincoln" anne hathaway for "les miserables" and helen hunt and jacki weaver for "silver linings playbook." what is your pick? >> i love all of them but i have to tell you sally field made me, she taught me something about mary todd lincoln that i didn't already know and behind every great president is a great wife running things and the slaves were freed that year, there you go, i love sally field. >> i think that's your way of saying you're rooting to are her even though you're being diplomatic about it. did winning an oscar changed
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your life? >> it definitely changed my career but my life is still the same. i know that i could not have the same life but it definitely changed how i'm perceived and the choices that i get to make. i'll tell you that. >> what choices are you getting to make now? >> well, let's just say i get to drive the bus, you know? and that's really wonderful. it's a great bus, it's a luxury bus and i get to make choices. i have a say a lot more of a say in what i get to do and i get to, you know, choose projects that will, you know, i don't know that resonate with me and that i sort of have some sort of bond with and to and you don't really necessarily get that when you're an actor for hire. >> you're lucky. >> you hope. >> you talked a lot about and we've talked a lot about sort of race in hollywood, weight in hollywood. how has that been for you or is it once you win an oscar you're out of that discussion, you're
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now here and if doesn't matter for you. >> i don't think you ever get out of that discussion. as an african-american woman i'm aware there are fewer roles for women of color and then i'm a very specific type, so weight issues, race issues will always be there and if you allow them to get to you or if you allow them to affect you, then yes they affect you. my thing is i have so many other things to worry about, i can't worry about other people's perception of me. if you beat yourself up worse than anybody, why would you allow someone else's perception of to factor in. it's definitely different, i'll tell you that. >> you started working with a weight loss company and you look amazing. >> thank you. >> you look fabulous. >> thank you. >> does that change sort of the roles you're getting now or do you feel that it's more, if you're a fine actor you're a fine actor and it doesn't matter? >> i don't think it's going to change the roles that i pursue.
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i just choose according to what resonates with me, but as far as sensa, i'm thrilled about it because it has changed my life and not necessarily my lifestyle, because i needed something to help me get healthy. i needed to deal with that, and that's something that i've been kind of doing for the past ten years very, very slowly. and i needed something to take it up a notch to not be as sw and that's what i love that i was able to integrate it into my life and see results rather quickly, quickly by my time clock. >> you look fabulous and you're a good spokesperson for sensa. >> thank you. >> we wish you the best. i'm curious to see what you're going to wear. what are you presenting? >> i'm presenting the best supporting actor. >> so what are you going to wear? who are you wearing, octavia? come on! >> i will tell you this, i'm definitely wearing underwear. >> well that puts you in the category in some ways a lot of
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people don't so that is breaking news when it comes to oscar fashion. it is so nice to have you. >> thank you for having me. >> can't wait to see you in a calm and relaxed way, less tension as a presenter at the oscars sunday. we got to take a short break, "end point" is up next. with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see, cause c-max also beats prius v, with better mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit welcome back. an update to our breaking news we're not going to find out today if oscar pistorius is going to get bail. the state is delivering closing arguments, it will wrap up in just about two minutes, then the day ends for the court. the state said pistorius shows total lack of realization of what he's done that he's a man willing and ready to fire and kill and that pistorius' v

Starting Point
CNN February 21, 2013 4:00am-6:00am PST

News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Oscar Pistorius 15, Kansas 11, South Africa 8, Cuba 8, Reeva Steenkamp 8, Syria 8, Georgia 6, Post Shredded Wheat 6, Damascus 6, Christine 5, Octavia Spencer 5, Iran 5, Soledad 5, Texas 5, Thompson 4, Pistorius 4, Robertson 4, Robin 4, Wichita 4, Washington 4
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